Halitosis, also known as bad breath, is an unpleasant odour that emanates from the mouth and can cause social embarrassment and have a negative impact on one’s quality of life. Severe halitosis can even affect communication and normal activities of daily living. Therefore, it is essential to address halitosis and its underlying causes.
While many people attribute halitosis to poor personal hygiene and lack of dental care, there are numerous factors that can contribute to the development of this condition. Oral hygiene is certainly important, but underlying oral health problems such as periodontal disease, gingivitis, tooth decay, and oral mucosal disorders can also lead to halitosis. These conditions promote the growth of bacteria in the oral cavity, which produce volatile sulphur compounds that give rise to the unpleasant odour associated with halitosis.
Poor oral hygiene can lead to food residue accumulation in the mouth, which is a significant factor in the development of halitosis. Halitosis sufferers often have periodontitis, gingivitis, dental caries, bleeding gums, and oral mucosa problems. These oral diseases can harbour a high number of bacteria, leading to the emergence of halitosis. Oral health significantly influences the overall health of an individual. Gum diseases, in particular, have been linked to a four-fold increase in the risk of heart disease.
Individuals with poor gastrointestinal health often have a compromised metabolism that can result in constipation. Chronic constipation prevents the elimination of toxins from the body through defecation, leading to their reabsorption and the emergence of halitosis.
People who smoke, consume spicy and greasy food regularly, work overtime, and have inadequate sleep are also susceptible to halitosis. Staying up late can lead to endocrine disorders and a decrease in saliva secretion in the mouth, resulting in bacterial accumulation and halitosis.
Poor gastrointestinal function reduces the digestive ability of an individual, leading to the retention of food residue in the stomach. This can produce a sour and putrid odour, eventually leading to halitosis. Helicobacter pylori infection is the second leading cause of halitosis and is associated with both oral and stomach diseases. Individuals with gastric ulcers, chronic gastritis, and stomach cancer are at a higher risk of experiencing halitosis.
Several systemic diseases such as uremia, leukaemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, vitamin deficiency, and heavy metal poisoning can also cause halitosis.
Practising good oral hygiene, including thorough brushing of teeth twice daily, sufficient sleep, and a balanced diet, may aid in reducing halitosis symptoms. However, individuals with chronic halitosis should seek medical evaluation from established medical facilities to uncover the underlying aetiology and receive suitable treatment. If you’d like to find out more about how you can take care of your oral health or manage your oral issues, reach out to us to find out more.